All of History from a Thrift Store

All of History from a Thrift Store | HSLDA Blog

I went to drop off old clothes at the thrift store. The weather was misting moist rain at us, and I meant to leave them at the donation door and run away home where it was dry. Meg asked if we could go in and look at books.

SCREE! Stop track. This is the first time she’s voluntarily asked to go shopping in years, I think, so I casually said, “YES!!!” and we dashed inside. This is the thrift store that inherited the stock from that rather good used book store when it closed a few years ago, and of course they’re always getting donations, so it’s got a whole end of the building for books.

All of History from a Thrift Store 1 - Carolyn Bales - HSLDA Blog

And we found treasures! Reasonably priced treasures! I do not buy many books these days because our shelves are full *cough, cough, Augustine*, but I found a brand-new copy of Andrew Peterson’s “Ballad of Matthew’s Begats” book-and-CD for $1, and you can’t pass up something like that.

The girls fell in love with it. I fell in love with it. We made Jonathan listen as soon as he got home, and he fell in love with it and immediately started looking up Jehoiachin who caused the Babylonian Captivity because he was a liar.[1]

Then he asked a detail about Zerubbabel who built up the rubbabble,[2] and then tried to pin down whether the Darius who took Babylon over Belshazzar’s dead body was the same Darius who tried not to feed Daniel to the lions’ den (spoiler: no, he wasn’t). But that “no” took chronologies from three different reference books I kept contributing, plus his smartphone, and a book on Egypt that should have covered it and was totally non-helpful on the era in question, and we were at it till eleven.

All of History from a Thrift Store 3 - Carolyn Bales - HSLDA BlogSince he had my library book on Mesopotamia, I read the Target Christmas ad and the J. Crew catalog they shot in Ireland. Target has lots of shiny things I want, and J. Crew has an outfit idea and fuzzy things I want, also an entire country I need to visit. I will wear plaid and tweed. They keep pink sheep?? By the time that was settled in my mind, Jonathan had chased history clear from Assyria through Persia, Greece, the Roman republic and wars and empire, to the Venomous Bede[3], and Charlemagne, and the French kings who were more like referees, and next thing you know we were in the Hundred Years’ War, and I had to dodge a chevauchee.

Then Jonathan made the mistake of saying he didn’t understand Egyptian history. I retorted that it was because Manetho was like Herodotus and couldn’t write a chronology out of a paper bag, and Jonathan made a crack about giant ant people. That took us till eleven-thirty. It was a good night.

All of History from a Thrift Store | HSLDA Blog

It’s a dangerous business stepping out onto the road, Frodo; you never know where it will take you. I’d actually only meant to take old clothes to the thrift store.

Carolyn signature Montez font

Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images by Carolyn Bales.


[1] To be precise, he did evil in the sight of the Lord. The Bible is nonspecific, but “liar” rhymed really well, so Peterson put it in.

[2] As Diana Waring memorably put it. Jonathan and I both remembered it. Shout out – WHO ELSE LISTENED TO THOSE TAPES? I got to hear her in concert at a homeschool conference in, like, 1998. I’m pretty sure that’s homeschool cred, right there.

[3] Venerable. “Venomous” comes from a book 1066 and All That, which is hilarious and you should totally read it.

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